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Jobs defends Apple’s environmental efforts

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By LC Angell

Contributing Editor
Published: Thursday, April 21, 2005
News Categories: Apple

imageAt Apple’s annual shareholders meeting Thursday, chief executive Steve Jobs defended his company’s environmental efforts after being questioned about recycling policies.

While activists picketed outside Apple headquarters, Jobs said inside that the company takes its environmental responsibilities seriously and noted that the company accepted more than 1,500 tons of old products in 2004 through its recycling program.

The activists — including one who dressed up as an iPod with the words “My trendy toy turned toxic trash today” — focused on the iPod and the device’s hard-to-replace battery. “Most consumers are just going to throw it away and get a new one,” said Sheila Davis, director of the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition.

Jobs said that consumers often throw old batteries away, and pointed out that tens of thousands of iPod owners have already gotten their batteries replaced through Apple’s $99 program and that the company properly disposes of the old ones.

Jobs also admitted that the iPod contains a small amount of lead, but that much more is found in other computer and conusmer electronics products including cathode-ray tube (CRT) monitors.

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Comments

1

people are not going to be throwing out their ipods or batteries as often as people will throw away a CRT monitor, iPods alone will not ruin the environment

Posted by scottishfishes8 in Chicago, IL on April 21, 2005 at 6:24 PM (PDT)

2

“Jobs also admitted that the iPod contains a small amount of lead, but that much more is found in other computer and conusmer electronics products including cathode-ray tube (CRT) monitors.”

Jobs actually said something closer to:

- The iPod contains a tiny amount of lead, but Apple is working hard to eliminate it.

- Most consumer electronics contain lead. CRTs contain a lot of lead. Apple was a leader in switching to all flat panel displays except for the eMac. (The CNET article that Mr. Angell paraphrased recounts this part in more detail.)

The CNET article also includes a link that people concerned about Apple’s environmental practices should read before they protest:

http://www.apple.com/environment/

P.S. Today’s demonstrators should have taken a page from last year’s TellOnApple picketers who were actually noticeable on the way to the meeting. smile

Posted by btn on April 21, 2005 at 6:48 PM (PDT)

3

damn tree hugging hippies

Posted by M Bargo in Chicago, IL on April 21, 2005 at 7:37 PM (PDT)

4

God forbid if we actually give a rats ### about the world we live in!

Posted by LTM on April 21, 2005 at 7:50 PM (PDT)

5

God forbid the enviro-weenies should actually picket people who are environmentally irresponsible, instead of picketing Apple where they can get good press.

I’m all about conservation and cleaning up the nasty process of building computers.  Why are they bagging on Apple, who is neither the largest manufacturer, nor the dirtiest?

Oh yeah, it’s so this sort of thing happens.  Right.

Posted by Lee Gibson on April 21, 2005 at 8:57 PM (PDT)

6

Lets face it, Apple has an economic interest in people buying new iPods rather than fixing old ones, replacing batteries in old ones.

Plus it seems like designing an iPod case with removeable batteries would be harder without making it bigger?  It would absolutely raise manufacturing costs.

Posted by wco81 in West Coast on April 21, 2005 at 10:18 PM (PDT)

7

You know it’s people like this that are the cause for the $8 disposal tax I had to pay on the new LCD monitor I just purchased.  This is getting rediculous.

Posted by MATRIXsjd in Burbank, Ca on April 22, 2005 at 12:28 AM (PDT)

8

In Australia, Apple Computer DOES NOT abide by its own published environmental practices.

I called them wanting to return some old Apple products but their customer service person told me that this policy does not apply to Australia.

How hypocritical Steve!

How about a worldwide environmental policy that applies to ALL countries that you trade in.

Posted by Harbour Boy on April 22, 2005 at 1:39 AM (PDT)

9

“God forbid if we actually give a rats ### about the world we live in!”

The technologists and scienctists will be the one’s who save the world.  Ironically, these are the very groups that so-called “environmentalists” are constantly protesting.

Posted by Quoth_the_Raven in Herndon, VA on April 22, 2005 at 5:10 AM (PDT)

10

A true intellectual’s take on “environmentalism”:

http://www.aynrand.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=8403

Posted by Quoth_the_Raven in Herndon, VA on April 22, 2005 at 5:13 AM (PDT)

11

Hey Harbour Boy, did you ever stop to think that maybe the difference in governments were the deciding factor there, not Apple’s?  Way to think that one through there mate.

on a side note, apple is a small fish in a big pond when it comes to these environmental issues.  I don’t think anyone who drives a car should be looking down on Apple for its practices- because carbon fuels are harming our environment more than anything right now.  For God’s sake, we’ve collectively raised the planets’ ambient temp 1º F in the last 20 years.  Evidently we have much bigger fish to fry!

To find out what a 1º F change is already doing to our planet go here:

http://www.ucsusa.org/global_environment/global_warming/index.cfm

Posted by apple juice in USA on April 22, 2005 at 6:52 AM (PDT)

12

Well Apple did right by me when I pointed out an environmental faux pas. I recently upgraded from the 60 day trial of their .Mac service. Apple was having a promotion for $30 off a years subscription…..if you went by a store and bought the BOXED version or ordered the BOXED version online. If you merely activated the membership electronically….you got charged the full $99.95. I complained and at first their response was “the offer only applied to the BOXED version.” I pointed out their warped logic “kill a tree, save $30, save a tree spend $30 ” They then refunded $30. Of course it would be nice if they fixed their site to include all ways of activating a .Mac account in the promotion.

Posted by rgreen on April 22, 2005 at 7:05 AM (PDT)

13

I don’t think the government would interfere if apple offers to take back their old product, which is the responsible thing to do. Most companies nowadays only think about selling the products but doesnt give too much thought about the waste generated. As a result, many of such wastes gets into the landfill, which i dont think most govts/states would like that to happen. At the end of the day, preventing such toxic wastes from getting into the landfill is not just for the environment, but also for the welfare for the people who stays around the landfill.

kudos to apple for having an old product recycling program in the US…but it would be better if they could launch it worldwide. Doing so could only improve apple’s image as a socially/environmentally responsible company.

Anyway i don’t think having a built in battery is much of an issue here, as long as the old product recycling program is effective. Probably apple could do better by bringing the program further by offering incentives such as a buy back or trade in program? Customers get discount, apple retains the customers, everyone is happy at the end of the day.

I’m glad that steve was able to defend the company and highlighted their efforts in protecting the environment. I’m sure there’s lots of company out there who would keep silence if faced with such a situation. It would be interesting to see how other electronic companies could respond to such a circumstance. Most could only be glad they are not in apple’s shoe today.

Posted by miani on April 22, 2005 at 10:27 AM (PDT)

14

Hello

” Why are they bagging on Apple,”

Because the iPod is a very popular and well-known item.  Of course it is to “get good press! ” It makes sense to use the most popular example to advertise some questionable practices.

I personally own 3 iPods, as well as four Apple computers, and I *agree* with the protest. I will not boycott, but I do I agree that things should change. Sure other companies do this-or-that, but I would love to see Apple go above & beyond “business as usual”.

Personally, if there was an industrywide programme for electronics similar to the German green dot, I would be happy.

Posted by consumerq on April 22, 2005 at 10:31 AM (PDT)

15

How many would be willing to pay $5-10 like California residents pay on computers and monitors for future iPod purchases?

Or a similar fee for cell phones?

Apple could be better but it’s a good thing they all have rechargeable batteries.  Hard to believe anyone would prefer disposable batteries on flash players.

Posted by wco81 in West Coast on April 22, 2005 at 11:31 AM (PDT)

16

Apple Juice’s earlier comment suggests that it’s OK for an American company to have different standards in the USA to what it does overseas.

I don’t believe that’s right. What’s good for the USA, should be good for whatever country an American company trades in.

It’s hypocritical for a company to profess one set of standards in the good ‘ol USA, and do something completely different elsewhere.

The same high standards should apply to corporations wherever they trade.

For starters, remember Union Carbide in Bhopal where over 25,000 Indians died and another 25,000 were injured? And what about Nike and the sweatshops of Asia?

The list of corporate shame is long Apple Juice.

Posted by Harbour Boy on April 22, 2005 at 9:29 PM (PDT)

17

No Harbour Boy,

my previous comment does NOT suggest that its OK for Americans to have different standards.  Are you insane, or just naive?  If every government had the same viewpoints on waste management, we wouldn’t be talking about this right now would we…?  No, but we all live on planet earth (well evidently some of us do) and as the dominant species on this planet, it is our sole purpose to destroy it;  one iPod at a time. 

Let me spell it out for you here big ‘boy:’

I simply suggested in my last comment that perhaps Apple’s lack of recycling program in Austrialia is because of the Austrailian government trade regulations.  And perhaps it wasn’t Apple’s fault that they couldn’t implement the program.

Sweat shops in Asia?  This post is clearly about the Apple’s corporate policy on recycling old technology- try to focus here buddy, I know its hard when every one uses big words.

And one last thing, I find it amusing that you can so quickly point the “corporate shame list”-finger at the Apple and the US.  Because the last time I checked Austrailia wasn’t a 3rd world country.  I don’t think the Aussie’s are exactly innocent of polluting the environment. 

Sorry Harbour Boy, but your ship has sailed.

Posted by apple juice in USA on April 23, 2005 at 6:40 PM (PDT)

18

Hey Apple Juice,

Let’s try and have a discussion that refrains from personal insults.

You’ll just have to accept that your earlier comment could be interepreted in the way I did.

And as for the issue at hand, the only reason Apple Australia is not following the published environmental policies of their US parent, is because they don’t want to pay the added costs.

It’s got nothing to do with trade regulations here. The Free Trade agreement has not come into affect yet and in any case, environmental factors are outside the agreement.

No Apple Juice, the reason has to do with double standards and corporate irresponsibility.

Nor am I defending Australian government or corporate actions. Our record is bad. But it’s not in the same league as Union Carbide killing 25,000 Indians.

Posted by Harbour Boy on April 24, 2005 at 4:32 AM (PDT)

19

Alright Harbour Boy,

I’m growing tired of this trivial debate… And I’m sure everyone else is tired of reading our factless banter as well.  Face it, we’re another couple of folks who would rather argue about other people’s action, and not do anything constructive about it…

end of story

Posted by apple juice in USA on April 24, 2005 at 6:04 AM (PDT)

20

I love the enviroment… and i think that it is very cool that Jobs also cares about the enviroment to, i know that Gates doesnt care one bit about the world.

Posted by ipoder555 on January 17, 2006 at 8:29 PM (PDT)

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